Thrips: How to Identify and Get Rid
of These House Plant Pests
What They Look Like
Thrips are thin, black insects with feathery wings. They’re tiny and difficult to see unless disturbed, hopping quickly or flying away.
They’re not common on indoor plants. More typically found in the outdoor flower garden, they can hitch a ride indoors on plants, people and pets. Once inside, they have no choice but to feed on your house plants. They multiply quickly, so it doesn’t take long before you have a large infestation on your hands.
Their young are yellowish and wingless.
Where to Find Them
Green Thumb Tip
Cleaning your plants regularly does double-duty. You’re not only removing dust — you can prevent insects from taking up residence on your plant.
Use a clean cloth for each plant to avoid giving bugs a ride from one plant to another.
These insects suck plant juices with their needle-sharp mouthparts, causing a great deal of damage to plants. They feed on both leaves and flowers.
Thrip larvae is on the surface of the soil, so be sure to treat the soil, too.
Thrips damage is worst in hot, dry conditions. Obvious signs of infestation are silvery streaked areas on leaves and dark spots on flowers.
Check your house plants regularly and treat any infestation as soon as you notice it. Insects manage to reproduce quickly, and with a large population, will do a lot of damage.
How to Get Rid of Thrips
Isolate the plant so they don’t move on to your other plants. Prune any heavily damaged leaves or flowers.
The easiest way to remove these insects is to wash them off with a fine spray of water. It’s a good idea to spray your plant again after a few days.
If that doesn’t do the trick, there are other non-toxic treatments that will work. Use BonideВ® Insecticidal Soap made for indoor plants. Spray every 2-3 days for 4 weeks or as needed. Make sure your plant is listed on the product label. Read the label carefully and follow the manufacturer’s directions for use.
Neem oil, such as this Neem Oil Spray is effective in getting rid of thrips. Neem oil doesn’t kill them immediately — it causes them to stop feeding so that they die.
Blue sticky traps placed near the plant are also a good option. Although many other pests are drawn to yellow sticky traps, research shows thrips are attracted to bright blue.
Thrips are thin, black insects with wings. Find out what you need to know about these house plant pests and thrips control.
Indoor Thrips Control – Getting Rid Of Thrips On Houseplants
Houseplant thrips can be difficult to deal with because they are not easily seen. They damage houseplants by poking holes in the leaves and other plant parts and suck out the juices. Since they are so small, they are difficult to see. Sometimes, if you disturb the plant, you will see them quickly hop away.
About Thrips on Houseplants
Thrips on indoor plants are not as common as thrips on outdoor plants, but they do occur and it is important to take care of them before the damage becomes too difficult to deal with.
Like any pest, it is best to identify them early in order to have the best chance in getting rid of them.
There are many species of thrips and some feed on leaves, flowers, buds and even fruit. Damage on leaves may look like white or silver colored streaks. Sometimes, the growing points will be contorted. Leaves that have a heavy thrip infestation will appear silvery and brown. Occasionally, you will see dark fecal spots on the leaves as well.
Thrips will lay eggs on the plant itself. These then hatch and the young thrips, called nymphs, will drop into the soil. Once they are in the soil, they will pupate and adult thrips will come out of the soil. The cycle will then repeat.
Indoor Thrips Control
Since houseplant thrips are found on the plant itself as well as in the soil during various periods of their lifecycle, you must treat both the plant and the soil.
Early detection is key, so be sure to take action as soon as you’ve identified that you have thrips.
There are a couple methods to treat the leaves, stems and flowers on your houseplant. The first is to use a spray of water to wash off any thrips on your plant. Keep a close eye on the plants and repeat this regularly. If this doesn’t work, or if you want to try a spray, both insecticidal soaps or neem oil sprays are safe and effective methods. Be sure to follow the manufacturer’s recommendations for application.
To ensure sure that you eradicate all thrips, you may want to treat the soil since the nymphs, or young thrips, may be present in your soil. A systemic houseplant insecticide can be added to the soil and it will take care of many pests. You simply water in the systemic insecticide, and the plant will absorb it throughout its system and protect itself against a variety of pests, including thrips.
Thrips indoors are not as common as thrips on outdoor plants, but they do occur and it is important to take care of them before the damage becomes too difficult to deal with. It is best to identify them early in order to have the best chance in getting rid of them. Learn more here.